'If I don't stop this, I am going to die' - Gabriel Byrne opens up about his alcohol addiction

Gabriel Byrne has opened up about his alcohol addiction, writes Sally Gorman.

The Walkinstown native joined Ryan Tubridy on the Late Late Show following his big win at the IFTA's on Thursday.

The Into the West star walked away with a lifetime achievement award at the ceremony but still claims his 21 years being alcohol free is his proudest personal achievement.

"One of the biggest victories to me in my life was that personal one of stopping and saying I'm not going to be that person anymore," he admitted.

The 67-year-old explained that he started to drink heavily in order to escape the pressures around him.

He said: "I think like a lot of people, I drank to escape from myself and to escape from the pressure that I felt around me.

"But I knew that I could never handle it, I was absolutely allergic to it. It was not a good thing for me to do."

Byrne also addressed the issue of Ireland's drinking culture as a whole.

"We have a huge drink problem in this country, I'm not so sure now because I don't live here but at that time it was endorsed by the culture.

"You were a great man if you had 10 pints and woke up the next day and said, where was I last night.

"That kind of thing became kind of frightening because my drinking was spiralling into a place where I couldn't remember what I did," he continued.

Byrne then went went on to credit Ireland saying that "it's not so strange or rare now to say help me, no matter what the problem is."

He encouraged those suffering to speak out and look for help.

"We're as sick as our secrets and shame and secrecy will kill you", he concluded.

By Sally Gorman
Digital Journalist

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